California

Gavin Newsom's California Business Closures Are 'Autocratic, One-Man Rule,' Argues New Lawsuit

California's COVID-19 business closures have turned Ghost Golf into a shadow of its former self. Its owner is now suing the governor for the right to reopen.

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Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom's ability to dictate the conditions of reopening California's economy is being challenged in a new lawsuit by small business owners who claim that the governor's pandemic restrictions have endangered their livelihoods—as well as representative government in the state.

"We've been shut down since mid-March and that's been completely devastating," says Daryn Coleman, owner of Ghost Golf, who is currently suing Newsom. "I have bills racking up. I have balances building on everything."

Coleman's business, a ghost-themed miniature golf and family entertainment center in Fresno, California, was forced to close, alongside all other nonessential businesses in mid-March, when Newsom first issued his emergency declaration.

Since then, he's been at the mercy of reopening conditions set by the governor and the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), which has kept Ghost Golf closed but for a few days in early June.

The state's latest reopening criteria don't give Coleman much hope of being able to open his doors again soon, let alone turn a profit.

The state's latest Blueprint for a Safer Economy places counties in one of four color-coded tiers based on their number of new cases (case rate), and percent of COVID-19 tests coming back positive (positivity rate). The higher a county's case and positivity rates are, the fewer businesses and social activities are permitted.

Fresno County is in the second-most-restrictive purple tier. That means Coleman's Ghost Golf, like all amusement parks in the county, is closed. Gyms, dance studios, and aquariums can open at limited capacity and under certain conditions.

Coleman will have to wait until his county is admitted into the next least-restrictive tier before being allowed to open. Even then, he'll only be allowed to operate at 25 percent capacity. That could be too little, too late for Ghost Golf.

"I honestly don't know if I will survive even if I am allowed to reopen," says Coleman, pointing to those capacity restrictions and the fact that business closures have already cost him busy summer months and the Halloween rush. "We're a haunted-themed place and I lost October, which is usually a really good month for us."

On Thursday, Coleman and Nieves Rubio, a restaurant owner in Bakersfield, California, sued Newsom, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, Acting State Public Health Officer Erica Pan, and CDPH Director Sandra Shewry. Their lawsuit argues Newsom's business closures are a usurpation of law-making powers reserved for the state's Legislature.

"The governor is essentially making law. He has no authority to do that," says Luke Wake, an attorney with the Pacific Legal Foundation (PLF), which has filed the case on behalf of Coleman and Rubio. "We're now seven months into what is really autocratic rule, one-man rule."

Newsom's orders have invoked the state's Emergency Services Act, which enables the governor to declare a state of emergency, and gives him sweeping powers to craft regulations and direct state agencies' actions when responding to an emergency.

While this law consolidates executive power in the hands of the governor, argues Wake, it doesn't create new executive powers that haven't already been approved by the state legislature.

"The Emergency Services Act allows the Governor to coordinate all aspects of the executive branch of the state and to exercise all powers already granted to any executive agency of the state," reads the lawsuit. "It does not grant the Governor the authority to take actions not otherwise authorized by the California Constitution or by statute."

The legislature, Wake notes, has passed several bills related to the COVID-19 pandemic while contenting themselves to let the governor and public health officials set the pace of the state's reopening.

The lawsuit PLF has filed on behalf of Coleman and Rubio is asking the court to declare the governor and CDPH exceeded their authority by ordering business closures and to strike down the entirety of the state's Blueprint for a Safer Economy as unlawful.

During coronavirus, the courts have generally have been loath to strike down lockdown orders and business closures in response to plaintiffs claiming their individual rights have been violated, citing a 1905 U.S. Supreme Court case which upheld a mandatory vaccination law as a constitutional exercise of state's police powers.

Lawsuits alleging that state governors and public health authorities have unjustly assumed powers reserved for state legislatures have proven more successful. State supreme courts in Wisconsin and Michigan shot down their governors' respective business closure orders for violating the separation of powers.

Every day, Coleman says he gets numerous emails and phone calls asking if his business is open yet. He hopes that this lawsuit will undo the restrictions keeping him from serving these customers, restrictions he considers arbitrary as well as financially ruinous.

"I can go work out at a gym. I can go get a massage if I want. I can go to a movie theater," he says. "but playing laser tag or indoor miniature golf is too great a risk?"

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California Separation of Powers Coronavirus Small Business

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74 responses to “Gavin Newsom's California Business Closures Are 'Autocratic, One-Man Rule,' Argues New Lawsuit

  1. Gavin’s Christmas party invites seem restrictive.

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    2. “We’ve been shut down since mid-March and that’s been completely devastating,”

      The plan to get Kamala er um Joe elected.

      PS Joe Biden is a crook
      PPS Joe Biden killed the #MeToo movement

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  2. “We’re now seven months into what is really autocratic rule, one-man rule.”

    One man can’t arrest everyone. It takes many people to agree to this. Whether it’s a law that was passed the “legitimate” way is irrelevant. It’s being enforced by a large number of people and a larger amount of people see this as acceptable.

    1. There’s a lot of ignorance to unpack in this comment.

      1. Ignorance of what? Dental plans and pensions?

        Juice is right: Newsome can proclaim what he wants. He still needs a whole lot of, “I was just paying the mortgage,” types to execute his bidding .

        1. … Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed …

          1. … and whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends [Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness] it is the Right of the People to alter, or to abolish it …

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      2. Ignorance is following blindly.
        880 deaths in a million people (560k Fresno, 400k in Bakersfield).

        That’s .00088 – or .088% of the population.

        Let’s just call it .01% – so half of a typical flu year.

        It’s fucking bullshit.

        1. Oops it’s four times that of a flu year. Whatever – the sky is falling

        2. Rounding 0.088 is .1, not .01.

          Let’s not call it .01.

    2. That is true, and also the really frustrating part of all this. If people are just going to go along, often with full support, we’re probably fucked. I think there has to be a point where people won’t put up with it, but I don’t know where that is. I thought for sure it would happen in the summer.
      Still, I don’t think that makes “autocratic rule” inaccurate. No one can rule without a lot of people either going along with it or acting as enforcers.

  3. Stop electing democrats.

    1. Don’t hold your breath. Californians are more likely to get fed up, move to a state that hasn’t been fucked by decades of single party rule, and fuck that state up by voting for the same bullshit they moved there to avoid.

    2. There’s an argument that suggests if we keep electing them and give them everything they want, they’ll eventually calm down.

      1. I dunno. I’ve seen people try that with their children and they came out all kinds of fucked up.

  4. El Paso has a judge that determined he could act as governor and shut everything down with a judicial order. So why not.

    1. He probably isn’t really a judge. Texas calls the executive head of the county Judge. So it was basically the mayor of the county if that makes more sense. El Paso is a city within the county of El Paso.

  5. After Trump’s reelection, we need a constitutional amendment to restrict “emergency” executive orders to 14 days, and prohibit re-issuing the same order multiple times. If the executive order is not ratified without change by the appropriate level legislative body within 14 days, it expires forever. This should keep the fewer orders milder in scope since the legislature has to agree.
    And oh yeah, a pony for every kid.

  6. Would that it were as rosy as this article makes it seem:

    “The left-wing agenda of Newsom’s reopening task force”
    […]
    “With huddled masses of Californians yearning to be free, Gov. Gavin Newsom has announced the launch of a task force to oversee the reopening of the economy by fostering business and job recovery. Yet it more closely resembles a central committee charged with installing some variant of Cold War-era Bulgarian industrial policy.
    Appointed as Newsom’s chief adviser and task force co-chair is uber-wealthy activist Tom Steyer. Yes, the same Tom Steyer who would bankrupt the fossil fuel industry in a state that ranks fifth in the country in crude reserves, seventh in oil production, second in energy consumption, and employs 400,000 in the old and gas sector. He would ruin businesses by forcing them to pay a $22 an hour minimum wage; believes in the fantasy of government investment in the economy; and has adopted anti-business positions after he made his billions.

    The free-market faithful would say Steyer is the worst appointment imaginable. But he is the perfect choice to manage the costly green energy fantasy schemes the task force is sure to concoct.
    Also on board are former Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen, a Keynesian who trusts government regulation over free markets; former Gov. Gray Davis, who was recalled in part because he knew the market would solve the state’s early 2000s energy crisis but wouldn’t allow it; a collection of virtue-signaling CEOs; and several union presidents, whose interest will be in securing political favors and advantages for organized labor rather than helping small businesses, and the middle and working classes reach their economic potential…”
    https://www.ocregister.com/2020/04/24/the-left-wing-agenda-of-newsoms-reopening-task-force/

    1. and the reopening is going to be contingent on “equity”, meaning if some minority group or other ignores the common sense advice for avoiding COVID-19 and has a higher rate of positive tests than everyone else, the whole county can’t reopen, even if the overall rate is low. Because fairness I guess. We can all be equally broke.

      1. If the honkies know what’s good for them, they’d better rush right out and get coughed on by one of those folks not wearing a mask!

    2. Joe Biden wants to bail out California with the future paychecks of Americans who do not live in California and cannot vote in California.

      People who live in states that didn’t impose lockdowns as strict as those in California should be livid at Biden and the Democrats for this.

      P.S. And Joe Biden is a crook.

      1. And Hinter is a pimp.

        1. Hinter is a pimp pump.

          FTFY

      2. How can California need a bailout? THeIr EcOnOmY iS bIgGeR tHaN mAnY cOuNtRiEs DUR DUR DUR.

      3. I am livid at more than that. Plenty of Republicans went in for this shit as well (though generally more mildly, for which they deserve some credit). But I will not consider voting for anyone who isn’t completely against any lockdown or forced business closure.

        1. Hunter is a pimp

          1. mack daddy Joe pimps out his own son.

  7. If the Democrats sweep the elections, get used to it.

    1. And not just for Covid. Expect shutdowns for “climate change”

      1. California is already planning to make work from home permanent, forcing companies to have 60% of their workforce work from home after COVID-19 is over.

        Which means more taxpayers will flee the state to work remotely, and more offices will be shut down forever and not pay property taxes.

        1. When the empty office buildings of the bay area are foreclosed on for non-payment of taxes and turned into housing projects, the cities will collapse under the weight of their unfunded pension obligations and we’ll have Detroit II.

        2. Is this industry specific? If not, how will mechanics, manufacturing, agriculture etc meet this criteria?

          1. Oh, I’m sure it’ll be as fine-grained as they can make it.
            And that’s a job-creating endeavor, right there.

  8. PLF web site:
    https://pacificlegal.org/
    There are going to be some foundations who are going to get a whole lot less this year and one which it gonna get a whole lot more.
    It’s amazing that Reason has not devoted more space to this power-grab, and that IJ, Cato and others are, at best, thinking about what maybe might be done.
    By the time any action is taken, Newsom will have his ‘more equitable, planned economy’ in place.

    1. They look really good. Might have to give them something.

  9. Should be called a “Blueprint for No Economy, and Let’s Hope Biden Wins so He Can Bail Out California”.

    Gov. Tiresome has to go. Too bad he’s not on the ballot this year — he’s about as popular as a flat tire.

    1. Even so, they’ll only replace him with someone worse.

      The Democrat political machine that runs California is even worse than Newsom. The people in the wings are even worse.

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  15. I don’t get it. Haven’t we been told, repeatedly on these boards by various commenters that no one is ‘making’ anyone do anything? It’s all just a polite request from well-meaning blue-city and state leaders?

  16. Iron fist in a velvet glove. And the gloves are coming off.

  17. I knew it was all over when they sent a Patrol Boat to arrest a lone paddle-boarder at Malibu Beach who was not within 100 yards of another person.

  18. The color code system was announced a couple of months ago. The required metrics for moving between the colors are defined. The best code is Yellow, still with restrictions. Most telling is there’s no mention of a Green level, where they just get the hell out out of the way and stop mandating. That’s not even up for consideration. There is no end to this.

    California is lost, but I still hold out hope for sanity somewhere in the world.

    1. They’ll come up with “green” after Steyr gets his ‘free’ e-car charging stations at every parking space in CA.
      And he gets the contract to provide them; they guy ain’t filthy rich by passing up government vig.

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  20. Gavin Newsom is Exhibit A of the progressive notion that we would all be better off if the government micromanaged our lives. Time will tell how much people like it, but what is frustrating for those of us who chafe are the number of people who approve of being micromanaged.

  21. To add to the ridiculousness of what is going on in California, read the October 9 Guidance for Private Gatherings. If this had been published by the Babylon Bee or The Onion, it would have made a great satire. Instead, it is an official document of the State of California.

    https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CID/DCDC/Pages/COVID-19/CDPH-Guidance-for-the-Prevention-of-COVID-19-Transmission-for-Gatherings-10-09.aspx

  22. What nobody’s talked about is Gavin Newsom is a puppet of the intelligence agencies. That’s what he was doing during his “gap years” in the early 90s – getting trained. This whole thing is an intelligence operation and a colossal psyop – it’s not Gavin doing this, it’s the Pentagon, Naval Intelligence, etc. California is a major military state and the DoD is going to groom its own sock puppets for the governor’s mansion. It’s time to recognize how our system actually works. This lawsuit will go nowhere because the entire judiciary is filled with DoD loyal judges who take their orders from Military Intelligence

    1. Naah; too bogus.
      Try again without the sledge hammer.

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  25. Perhaps guillotines should be built outside Gavin Newsome’s house.

  26. ‘Autocratic, One-Man Rule,’ ?
    Isn’t that the whole point of the shutdowns?

  27. Hello. There are a number of us small businesses. In a small resort town in SoCal. We are intentionally going rogue. We are permitting indoor customers.

    The attitude is now “Fines are cheap”. Losing staff that cannot pay rent and business owners not being able to make lease or mortgage, screw the Newsom Sturmabteilung leftist loyalists that keep reporting us.